Virtual Public School, Connections Academy, Encourages Students to Rate Online Lessons

Students at Connections Academy, use a special star rating system to rate online lessons. Connections Academy educators receive valuable feedback to help enhance curriculum while students are empowered to help shape their education.

BALTIMORE, March 16, 2009 — The familiar question, “How was school today?” gets a techno-twist for over 16,000 students enrolled in the national network of Connections Academy schools across 14 states. When students’ complete Connections Academy’s online lessons they have the option to “rate” the lessons on a scale of one to five; five being the highest rating. The star rating system was launched last year and curriculum specialists are very pleased with the results.

“Connections Academy’s star rating system allows us to be very responsive to our students’ feedback -- and means we can tweak the lessons during the year or completely revise them for the following school year,” said Patricia Hoge, Ph.D., Vice President for Curriculum and Instruction at Connections Academy. “At Connections Academy accountability is key and we are constantly assessing; striving to enhance our high-quality curriculum. The star rating system supports this goal while empowering our students to play an active role in shaping their education.”

Since the system was launched, Connections Academy has received over 587,000 ratings; over 19,900 included comments. Over 26,500 distinct lessons have been rated and the average Connections Academy online lesson rating is 4.06.

“I guess you could say that the students’ are grading us,” Dr. Hoge continued. “With the results from the star rating system we can really fine tune our program. We take the feedback process very seriously.”

The star rating system leverages Connections Academy’s technology resources – enabling the online school to receive instant and daily feedback from students. Connections Academy’s curriculum combines online lessons with best-in-class textbooks, state-certified teachers, and in-person community experiences to create a supportive and successful environment for children who need an individualized approach to education.

Connections Academy is a leading national provider of high-quality, highly accountable K-12 virtual public schools operated in partnership with charter schools and school districts. Connections Academy virtual public schools offer an alternative public school experience – public school from the comfort of home. Students work with state-certified teachers over the internet and on the phone while an adult “Learning Coach” monitors progress in the home. Appropriate computer use is applied by grade. Hallmarks of this tuition free online school program are flexible schedules, strong parental involvement and the accountability of the public school system.

A wide range of students are ideal candidates for Connections Academy schools, including: those who are significantly ahead or behind in the classroom; students who need more individualized instruction; live in isolated rural settings; or require a flexible school schedule. Homebound and previously home-schooled students can also thrive in the Connections Academy program.

About Connections Academy
Connections Academy is a leading national provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual public schools in fourteen states operated in partnership with charter schools, school districts, and state departments of education. Connections Academy schools deliver top quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences to create a supportive and successful environment for children who want an individualized approach to education. In Connections Academy's Personalized Performance Learning® approach, students use daily lesson plans and curriculum materials provided by Connections Academy. Teachers develop a learning plan for each student, whose progress is tracked through a proprietary, web-based Learning Management System. In 2008-2009 Connections Academy will serve students in Arizona, California (Southern and Central), Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri (through the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program), Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. Connections Academy offers grades K through 12, though some schools do not offer all grades. For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit